An article on the BBC website explores why more men suicide than women, provides another interesting look at the issue, though there are some useful additions that can be made.
Relationship breakdown is one of the most significant factors in male suicide, accounting for about 25% of male suicides in Australia. We know that this also correlates strongly with a loss of access to children, and there is strong anecdotal evidence that the risk for men who get appropriate support through that breakdown and loss of access to their children, does drop significantly. Parents Beyond Breakup run an excellent program, now available in Hobart and Launceston, that provides such support to men.
It's time we move past the simplistic idea that men don't talk and they don't seek help. As with many things, there is truth there, but there's more to it. Men do talk, when given the right environment and context in which to do so. In my experience when the environment is safe, it can be difficult to shut them up. We need to create environments and contexts that seek to engage men in ways that appeal to them, that work with the strengths of their psychology and character. As we know from the men's shed movement, shoulder to shoulder conversation can be more appealing to men. Perhaps this suggests a walk in the park, rather talk across the counselling table might work better for some?
The article cites Mates in Construction whose programs work because they change the culture. Not only do they encourage men to share things of a personal nature, they also make it important for others to do the asking. The more significant culture change is the creation of a more supportive workplace, where people check in on each other. Colleagues know what is happening in each other's lives and can ask, genuinely, how someone is travelling. The emphasis is not on the man to change, to talk more, to seek help, but rather on the people around him, and well designed male-friendly services to support him through those challenging times and to connect him with professional help when it is needed.
In Tasmania, OzHelp Tasmania offers similar programs and services in various trades and worksites. Mates4Mates is also meeting returned services people in ways, contexts and with the language that appeals to their client group.
Men's Resources Tasmania can talk to your organisation about how you can create male-friendly services.
Don't forget that support is available if you, or someone you know is struggling with issues around suicide. Visit the Urgent Assistance page on the MRT website for contacts.
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78